Myth #3: It’s impossible to identify an influencer.
Yes, it is hard to tell who’s an influencer these days. No online or offline metric is perfect whether it be a Klout Score, social media following or any other available measurement.
At times someone with a small social presence can tell a story about a company so beautifully (often in a negative way) that it will go viral. Thus defying common beliefs that only those with large social maps have influence.
Does that mean we should throw our hands up in the air and give up on influencers altogether? No. Because someone with a Klout Score of 70, with numerous Twitter followers and a well-followed industry blog is someone you should care about. You want them to speak positively about your company and you want to do everything you can to make that happen. Influencer metrics matter not because they’re perfect, but because they’re close enough in many cases. Knowing on average where someone stands is much better than knowing nothing.
Myth #4: You should treat people with low Klout scores like crap.
Definitely not. You should illustrate good customer service for all of your customers. Zappos is a great example of how to implement this in a sustainable way. Taking care of your customers is good business. When you start talking about influencers, it should be about how to go above and beyond to engage with them or speak in their language. It is not an excuse to give everyone else bad service.
Myth #5: Influencer marketing is about bribing influencers.
Influencers are smart. They have become influencers because they can tell marketing crap from reality. So here’s the thing: for this to work, you have to genuinely engage these people. You have to care what they think and listen to their feedback. You have to get to know them and help them.
It doesn’t have to all be 1:1, but influencer marketing is not just sending free stuff, it has to actually add value for them. Getting the inside scoop on your new launch is meaningful (if they care about your industry), but receiving a discount coupon is usually not.
So where does this leave us? Influencer metrics are not going away. Influence will be one piece of data we look at when trying to understand our users and customers. Now is the time to understand it and get good at it.
Make note of the times it’s done cheaply and poorly, but don’t take it as a sign that you can completely ignore it. Instead, be the one to get it right.
Photo Credit: Mango
Megan Berry is the Founder of LiftFive a startup designed to help companies grow communities and gain momentum. LiftFive’s current clients include Klout, RebelMouse and Newsle. Megan was formerly the Senior Marketing Manager at Klout where she had joined as their fourth employee. She blogs about marketing, influence, and social media strategy atThe Huffington Post, Mashable and Amex Open Forum.